The Bavarian Province bore the brunt of this work, but the Saxon province also established houses on the easternmost boundaries of its territory and contributed to the conversion of the Prussians and Lithuanians. Some English Augustinian friars also went to Lithuanian territory, not so much to make converts as to provide for the spiritual needs of English merchants.
Although Italy founded but twenty new houses during the fourteenth century, it gave the Order its greatest medieval saint, St Nicholas of Tolentine (died 1303) and the Augustinian monastery at Lecceto earned a reputation for holiness. This attracted a number of foreign Augustinians to Lecceto, the greatest of whom William Flete O.S.A., the trusted adviser of St Catherine of Siena. Italy also provided leading theologians; the important part they played in the foundation of universities is, therefore, not surprising.
Hungary started to awaken towards the middle of the century. For a while the Augustinians held there first place in learning when some of its members were the only masters of theology in the entire kingdom. Spain had only five houses in 1305 but commenced striving under the leadership of Francis Salelles O.S.A. and gave the church an outstanding theologian in Alphonse Vargas Toletanus O.S.A. (died 1354).
In England, Augustinian membership reached its highest-ever total before the coming of the Black Death in 1348, when new friaries began and other attempts failed because of opposition from the competing interests of civic and/or ecclesiastical authorities.
Thetford in 1389 was the last Austin friary established in England during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. For more than the next 120 years not a single effort at expansion was made, nor a single offer or request for a new foundation known to have been made. A sudden stagnation and numerical decline afflicted all religious Orders alike; the causes for this decline were numerous, including the psychological effects of the Black Death upon confidence in religion, the population decline and straightened economic times that reduced the number of possible benefactors to fund new foundations.
By 1350 the century-long debate about the degree of serverity of poverty in Augustinian community life was settled in practice by the general adoption of a moderate modus vivendi.
Even so, some historians of the Order have called the fourteenth century the Augustinian century not only because of the leading role Augustinians played in the church but principally for the pre-eminence which the study of St Augustine and his cult attained through the Augustinians.
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